Daniel Vettori, who sat out of the second Test against West Indies in Kingston with a groin injury, might not recover in time for New Zealand's tour of India in August-September 2012.
Ross Taylor, the New Zealand captain, said there was little chance of Vettori being fit in time for the first Test against India. "It's not looking likely at this stage. There is a 90 percent chance Dan won't be there," said Taylor. "So, we've got to look forward to seeing how the next spinner gets on over there.
Earlier, Brendon Mcullum had also hinted that Vettori might skip the tour to India, which consists of two Tests and two Twenty20 Internationals.
Vettori's absence could hand Tarun Nethula, the leg-spinner born in Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh in India, a Test debut. Nethula, 29, has played five One-Day Internationals for New Zealand and was part of the Test squad that traveled to the West Indies.
Vettori played in the first Test against West Indies, but had poor returns of 1 for 127. New Zealand went on to lose the second Test to hand West Indies their first Test triumph over a nation other than Zimbabwe or Bangladesh in three years.
New Zealand's batting let them down at crucial points in both Tests, but Taylor said it was more due to batsmen not applying themselves for long periods than lacking in technique.
"It's not all doom and gloom," he said. "But with the batting, we're probably looking to the technical side a bit too much. Batting, and cricket in general, is a big mental game - we need to address the mental side of the game a bit more, and apply ourselves and set ourselves to bat long periods of time."
New Zealand will go into the series against India under a new coach in Mike Hesson, with John Wright's tenure ending at the conclusion of the West Indies series.
"Wright has been a good servant for New Zealand cricket, and it's a bit disappointing to send him off on that note," said Taylor, after New Zealand's disappointing tour ended. "We might not have put it into performances but I'm sure, over the next little while, that a lot of what John has done for the team will come through."